Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 21st Log

2007, Oliver Assayas / Frederic Auburtin / Gerard Depardieu / Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet / Joel Coen / Ethan Coen / Isabel Coixet / Wes Craven / Alfonso Cuaron / Christopher Doyle / Richard LaGravenese / Vincenzo Natali / Alexander Payne / Bruno Podalydes / Walter Salles / Daniela Thomas / Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa / Tom Twyker / Gus Van Sant
1st Viewing, Theater

Paris je t’aime is film featuring 18 vignettes, each from a different acclaimed director, and each a different location of Paris. Each film is a different story of love set within the city of love. Like most of these films, some segments work better then others. As a whole this is a mediocre film (one that sounds better then it results into), but it is never boring. The film is interesting to see how each director envisions the story and how in most cases they incorporate their trademark styles within segments. I enjoyed nearly ever directors segment (except perhaps the one by Gurinder Chadha). Those that stood out to me were by the Coen Brothers, Sylvain Chomet, Alfonso Cuaron, Gerard Depardieu / Frederic Auburtin, and I think the very best segment belongs to Wes Craven. The segments that took a humorous approach seem to work best (Coen brothers hilarious Tati-esque comedy starring Steve Buscemi, and Chomet’s funny love story involving two mime’s). However, Craven’s segment best defines the films core, while combining romance and witty humor with a perfect pitch, as the story takes place at the cemetery of Oscar Wilde (starring the always charming Emily Mortimer, Rufus Sewell, and Alexander Payne as Wilde). Cuaron captures his preference for the long take with a clever one shot tracking conversation between Nick Nolte and Ludivine Sagnier. Depardieu and Auburtin recall the great John Cassavetes with the casting of Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara in their simplistic segment. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a terrific performance in the Oliver Assayas segment. Tom Tykwer’s segment stars Natalie Portman and probably could have been a feature film, as it is seen as a fast-forward flashback of an entire relationship. World renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle provides his trademark visuals and sexy Chinese style in a very strange segment. Gus Van Sant’s segment details a Frenchman who believes he has found a soul mate in a man he sees at first sight. Oliver Schmitz’s segment gives us a tragic love story. Alexander Payne closes the film with a unique American tourist in Paris segment. Paris je t’aime ends with an epilogue of sorts that try to connect the segments, but this film never really feel like a whole. As a whole film, Paris je t’aime in certainly watchable, but les then half of the segments stand out, with Wes Craven’s being the highlight.

1966, Ida Lupino, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

After establishing herself as the first major woman director in Hollywood in the early 1950s (with excellently made noirs like Hitch-Hiker, Outrage and her final film 1953’s The Bigamist), actress Ida Lupino turned her directorial efforts to television (where she also did much of her acting as well). In 1966, Lupino returned once more to direct her final feature film, The Trouble With Angels. The film does have a television feel and perhaps lacks the stylish noir of Lupino early features. However, The Trouble With Angels is an absolutely fun film. Featuring a nearly all female cast, the film relies heavily on the charm of the actresses then it does on its plot (which centers around two trouble making students at an all-girls Catholic Academy run by Reverend Mother Superior and her Sister nuns). The film has fun with the little quirks of each nun (the art teacher is especially comical). Rosalind Russell gives a an excellently dry humored performance as the Reverend Mother. The chemistry among the cast really carries the film and as it progresses it becomes a moving film (particularly in the relationship of Russell and the lively young girl, played by Hayley Mills). This is a very enjoyable film.

2007, Ray Lawrence, Australia
1st Viewing, DVD

Ray Lawrence follows up his highly acclaimed 2001 film Lantana with his third feature Jindabyne. Lantana drew comparisons to Robert Altman in the way it intertwined narratives, and Lawrence again makes an Altman connection here, as Jindabyne is adapted from a short story by Raymond Carver (So Much Water So Close to Home", which was one of the stories within Altman’s sprawling epic Short Cuts. In this film Carver’s short story is given more attention as Lawrence extends it out as a feature. Lacking the effortless shifts of mood of Altman’s film, Lawrence still captures a feeling of atmosphere. Lawrence shifts the setting to Australia and also adds an element of race relations to the story. The film is essentially a powerful drama, but Lawrence crafts the film like a thriller, further emphasizing an atmospheric feeling. The performances are exceptional, with Laura Linney’s incredible performance being particularly powerful. The film has several complex layers of human relationships and it really finds an authentic note in the way it captures how we communicate (or perhaps more fittingly how we fail to communicate by hiding or avoiding true feelings). Jindabyne does not work as effectively as Lantana, but Linney’s performance elevates the film, and Lawrence does a fine job bringing the story together.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home